Photographer’s Checklist for Wedding Day Success

Make your list and check it twice

Heading into a wedding can be stressful.  You are responsible for documenting each incredible moment with no do-overs.

How can you prepare yourself to tackle a wedding day? It’s simple.  Make a check list of all the tasks you need to complete PRIOR to heading out the door.  The key is preparation.  Doing as much as you can in advance will eliminate some of the stress and the possibility of you forgetting something important!

List out your tasks

Do you have a pre-wedding routine?  If not, now is the time to start.  We all know the importance of being organized and if this is one of your weak spots,  creating a check list of your must do tasks will help you reach Martha Stewart level organization.

In all seriousness, with our busy lives and distractions, it is so easy to forget something important.

So let’s take a look at my Pre-wedding check list.

The Day before

  1. Charge all camera batteries–even your back up battery and camera
  2. Purchase batteries for flash–or charge them as well.   **I use the eneloop pro batteries for all my off camera flashes and transmitters.  I highly recommend them!
  3. Memory cards/SD cards–First make sure your images have been backed up, in multiple locations, then format them in camera to delete the files and be ready to roll.  I use smaller 16 or 32gb cards instead of the larger file size.  The reason for this is I shoot each segment or portion of the wedding on a different card.  If one happens to fail, I do not lose the entire wedding.  I have had this happen to me once, and it was a lesson I will never repeat.  I label each card with a fine black sharpie marker with numbers 1-6 for both my primary and back up cards.  I can then tell which segment of the day I am downloading by the label on the card.
  4. Clean my equipment and lenses
  5. Check my camera settings.  I make sure my ISO is set to 100 and my auto ISO is turned off.  Create a “Custom” reset setting just for you.  Mine is ISO 100 at 2.8 with a Shutter Speed of 1/250.  I will adjust my settings as needed on location.
  6. Sync all my cameras–You do this by going into your camera menu under time.  Set your primary camera to a few seconds faster than your secondary/back up camera.  When you begin downloading the files, your images will fall into the correct time frame of the day.
  7. Print off  2 hard copies of the wedding timeline. (One is for backup)
  8. Print off your couple’s wedding questionnaire.
  9. Print off your shot list of individuals for family portraits.
  10. Know the names of your couple and their key wedding party members.  No, hey yous!
  11. Charge your cell phone and laptop.
  12. Enter wedding contact # into your cell phone.
  13. Confirm venue address and enter into GPS.
  14. Send a short “See you tomorrow” text or email to bride.
  15. Plan your wedding outfit and back up outfit. (Yes, us photographer’s get dirty, lay in mud puddles, climb up ladders, and get stuck in the rain.  Always pack back up clothing)
  16. Make sure your styling kit is stocked and ready.
  17. Load your step ladder, reflectors, etc into your vehicle-anything the weather/heat will not affect overnight.
  18. Go to bed at a decent time. Check.

The Day of

  1. Pack plenty of water and energy snacks.
  2. Load your vehicle with your equipment.
  3. Enter venue location into your GPS.
  4. Plan on leaving early.  I was taught this saying years ago, and it always runs through my head:

 

To be on time, is to be late; to be early, is to be on time.

 

I hope you enjoyed a peek at my wedding day check list and routine.  Feel free to adjust any of the above to fit your needs.

Let me know if this article was helpful, or if you have any questions or comments.

I’d love to hear from you.

Until next time–

XO Sue

 

 

 

 

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